Look, we already hate talking to the robots when we call customer service and have to spend our first 15 minutes navigating the menu until we start screaming into the ether that we want to speak with a “representative!” And I’d be willing to bet that there are a fair number of us who have cussed at Siri and Alexa or demeaned them verbally when frustrated by the results they delivered.

But now we have Chat GPT 4 and the game has changed. That robot is almost annoyingly conversational and it can be so in 50 languages. With communication skills being one of the top skills for leaders, it’s compelling to see how it can help there. I’m willing to bet there are a pile of you thinking, “so wait, can I use Chat GPT to do my performance reviews?” “How about those tough conversations that we dread?” Admit it, you know you are asking the questions. Some of you are probably already attempting it. What’s the worst that could happen?

I believe we will find out. We will see organizations grapple with the use of robots when it comes to interpersonal relationships at work and how things are communicated. It’s historically the root of a lot of hotline calls to begin with; where employees who are fed up with how they are treated, call in to let the organization know exactly who is a jerk of a manager.

Now while I’m not advocating one way or the other, I am interested in how our relationships to each other in this capacity will be impacted. Personal accountability, performance accountability and cultural accountability will all come into play as we move forward in our brave new world. Accountability conversations are already approached with trepidation and lack-luster execution in so many organizations that they are a prime target for exactly this kind of help. But will it help?

Here’s what I would say about that. Accountability conversations can either build a relationship or break one when done poorly. While Chat GPT can probably coach you in what to say, but if you think that it can say it for you, delivered in an email or voicemail, you’re already doing it wrong. Primarily because “mail” in any format is not a conversation. Accountability is about creating clarity. Clarity requires dialogue. Full stop. This means that you must be present to listen and respond in real time.

Additionally, accountability starts with you. You must first be clear on your issues with someone in order to speak to them with someone else. Chat GPT is going to offer you speed and that’s a sexy thing when you gotta get things done. However, speed in accountability often sends you down the path of conversations about the wrong things simply because you haven’t really thought through what’s going on for you first. You are simply reacting. You are answering your own emotional mail about what you’re disappointed with or upset about or frustrated by and looking for a way to talk about that. I’m thinking that Chat GPT use here may only magnify how much miscommunication we’re going to experience if used in this way.

At the end of the day, accountability conversations are about relationships and how we work better together. They require us to be present, engaged, listening and connected to one another. This is what creates clarity, builds trusts and drives the necessary psychological safety necessary to tackle difficult topics. Our conversations are our relationships and no robot will effectively substitute for that level of connection with another human being.

So go ahead and explore and see if the coaching is any good. You will only find out when you practice in real time with another human being. It’s only by doing it yourself, with words that come out of your mouth and brain if you’re any good and what is a fundamental basis for working together under any circumstance. And ironically, isn’t using a robot to have your conversations is in it’s own way a shirking of your own responsibilities. So let’s just hold ourselves accountable for that first.